A Meeting of Friends and a Musical in the City

In the morning I went to Carnegie briefly, and then went to the bio library to study only to fall asleep and consequently miss the first couple minutes of lecture. After bio lecture I stuck around that corner of campus got a little studying done in the bio library and then went to bio lab. This ended earlier than it sometimes does so I went to the post office afterward, found a ticket telling me a care package had arrived and got in line to wait to pick it up. Coincidentally, my bio lab partner soon got in line behind me, waiting to purchase some money order.

The line was not that long, but it was as usual kind of slow. I guess it was way too slow for the guy behind my lab partner, because he turned to her and offered to pay her to send a package for him, because he had to get to class. She looked surprised, but did not refuse. He filled out an overnight-mailing form and took of, leaving her with a twenty that would exceed the price of sending by about $5. She said that she would never be in such a rush as to pay someone; she’d just be late. I think I would do the same, and the thought crossed my mind that there was some nefarious item in the guy’s package that would be trouble for anyone who handled it.

But that did not turn out to be the case. After picking up my package, I went to Braun to practice organ for a bit, then stopped at Meyer to pick up some books on my way to Lantana.

I had arranged for a girl from my growth group bible study to meet Jia. The girl, called Jane Zhang, was interested in such a meeting because she is originally from Shanghai and Jia is an international student from Shanghai, of course. So when I got to Lantana I collected Jia from the cluster and we waited for her in our room. She also brought along another girl originally from Shanghai named Ling. Ling already knew Jia from a CS class they’d had together. Fei was also there. When Jane and Ling showed up, Jane talked to Jia in Shanghaiinese (a dialect of Chinese that is spoken in Shanghai). Earlier I had asked Jia to call Jane because I knew she liked to speak Shanghaiinese and thought she might not be comfortable doing so in the presence of someone who only spoke English. This turned out not to be the case, actually.

Ling noted Jane’s fondness of “practicing her Chinese” but she herself spoke only English through most if not all of the meeting; she is like Fei in this tendency to speak English and in the fact she later mentioned (on prompting from Fei) that she does not remember much of Shanghai from her childhood. I think Fei liked her better for that.

Conversation proceeded through dinner. We surprised Jane I think by mentioning that we drew last year with two people who graduated from the same high school as her in San Francisco. Conversation proceeded on various topics, but we had to break off around 6:30, the time that Nicola was to arrive back from a guitar lesson and take Jia, Fei and I to San Francisco to see the musical “Rent,” and Ling had to head off to a class. Jane moved to another table with people she had known previously.

On the way to her room Fei expressed her feeling of guilt because she’d invited Huat Chye to come in our car and then told him no. Jia agreed with her that she had been bad. In the car we moved on to other topics: namely discussing draw preferences. Jia was considering row houses near the dorm of a guy she knows and Fei was all for Manzanita, where some other people she likes will be living next year. Nicola and I did not voice opinions.

The area in which the theatre is located is kind of ghetto-ish. Nicola found a parking space in a lot a couple of blocks from the theatre. When we got out, a dirty and disheveled man approached us, exposing a red arm. He told us that he had crashed his bike and broken that arm and wanted something from us…Nicola refused for us and we hurried away. His red arm and story of being hurt were just a story to make us more willing to give him money…

As we walked up the street to the theatre Fei was considering her shoes, asking us if we thought they were the right size. Jia commented that they were too big; another dirty and disheveled man hanging out in front of a store commented that they were nice shoes and that he could take them off of Fei. We hurried on.

When we got to the theatre we briefly considered and rejected the idea of returning to the car and moving it closer.

The musical itself was entertaining; I think the best part was the music. Nicola said later that it was the best she’s seen.

After the show was over, we saw Huat Chye hanging around waiting for the party that drove him up there to gather themselves: Jia hesitated at first to approach him but then got up the nerve or whatever and invited him to join us, an invitation which he readily accepted.

Surprisingly, walking back to the car (perhaps because we were in swarms of other theatre-goers) was less of a hassle than walking from the car to the theatre. Fei had an idea to go restaurant, but we had difficulty finding an appropriate place that was open. We parked once to look at a place (which turned out to be closed) and were again approached for money…anyway, we decided to just head back. Huat Chye was particularly conversant with Jia on the way back (the three of us were in the back seat). Subjects of discussion included unemployment in Shanghai, the occupations of their respective parents, the appearance of his younger sister and the “Palm” billboard that features a naked woman.

When we got back we had the idea to go to Late Night; Huat Chye declined because he had a paper to write for a Chinese politics class he’s taking. We were surprised because he had earlier said he had no pressing work (while we were driving around “the city”); figure he had just been being polite. Anyway, the four of us went to Late Night. We met some people we knew, including a couple of guys from Castaño who are going to be living in an unfavorably distant dorm next year because they entered the disability draw and did not have a good enough number to be housed in the favorable dorm that specializes to some extent to disabilities. After this, back to Lantana and soon to bed!


Nicola leads a tour of the city

The group with which I planned to travel to San Francisco gathered.  This was my roommate Nicola, Fei, Jia and Franzo. Franzo was a last-minute addition to this group. However, he is quite talkative and somehow managed to do most of the talking on this trip!

We caught a bus to China Town, Nicola serving as tour. Looked around a little before having a late lunch (at a Chinese food place, as you may have expected). Topics of conversation included drinking at Stanford.

After that, we caught another bus and then walked for a little.  Nicola took us to her high school, a Catholic girls’ school that consists of only one (large, fancy) building.  She told us that it has only 200 students altogether and there were, I think, 58 students in her graduating class.

We spent a long time in the chapel.  Franzo played the piano–he is good at it because he has done it for many years, although he says he hasn’t had formal lessons and plays by ear.

There is also an organ there and Nicola played a little before Franzo played on that too.  Nicola went upstairs for a while (I think she said she ran into her college counselor). While she was gone Franzo played more on the piano and showed us how the pedals work.

Soon after Nicola came back we walked a little more, talking (mostly Fei and Jia and Franzo) about dating. Of the five of us I think only Franzo has dated, and he not since he came to Stanford.

We passed a place called the Exploratorium and entered a grand-looking structure called the Palace of Fine Arts (we saw the Golden Gate bridge on the way). We sat for a while under a dome there as Franzo related stories of his life in New York.

After this, bought some drinks from a vending machine and visited a Gap (a store chain that Franzo works for).

We took a couple more buses and walked a little more before getting dinner at McDonald’s.  Then we made our way back to the train station in time for the 9:00 train.  Before we got on one final bus we had a guy take our picture with Jia’s camera.

It was quite an enjoyable trip, really, quite fun to be with this group going about San Francisco.  We said goodbye to Nicola at the train station, since she planned to go home. When the rest of us got to Palo Alto, Franzo headed straight back but I went with Jia and Fei to return the Blockbuster tapes we rented yesterday.  Then we biked home, checking P.O. boxes on the way.